First, the bad: why no picture of the nothic? Maybe it’s on another page? This is clearly a bizarre thing. Does it have working hands? Legs? Or does it move about upon a giant slimy tail, like a slug?
Nothics have traditionally been goofy-looking critters with no more backstory than “humanoid that wants to eat your face and has wacky eye powers.” Clearly, WotC wants to change this, and I love the notion of them being mutated wizards who have peered too long and too deep into the abyss. (Though doesn't that better fit warlocks? And how, exactly, does one turn into a nothic? What should PC wizards do to avoid such a fate, and can a foe trick them into it?)
But there’s so much that’s left to the imagination here. Do they have opposable thumbs? What do they want? Do they serve some dark cosmic being, or are they all Gollums-without-rings, lurking about in dark places and going on and on about eating raw fish?
The answers to those questions can be happily campaign or even location-specific, with card-cheat, pants-wearing nothics in one location and feral, face-chewing nothics in another. But there are deeper issues with this description that cripple its utility at the table. How does their Rotting Gaze attack work? Is it a beam that shoots from the eye, and if so, can it be reflected with a mirror? Or does the nothic just manifest wild entropy in the flesh of its target? Or is it some sort of necrotic tear-spray?
In a computer game, the differences are fairly academic. In a tabletop RPG, they’re vital. Knowing something of how the attack works answers questions like:
- can it penetrate magical defenses? Fog? Smoke?
- can one character try to block the attack by leaping between the nothic and its target?
- does the attack damage gear? Can it be used against inanimate objects like doors, ropes, chains, or blindfolds?
- can the PCs harvest it and use it against foes after killing a nothic?
And that’s just what I can come up with off the top of my head about how players will tackle this odd critter. With only the (nearly complete lack of) clues in the description, it’s impossible to guess, which means nothics in one campaign will be fleeing at the sight of mirrors while in others they will be flinging necrotic tears with wild abandon.
Which isn’t that huge an issue in home games but is HUGE in organized play. And I kinda thought WotC wanted organized play to be a big thing now?
And that all said, the weird insight ability is awesome! Can the nothic search for a secret in particular, or are they random? If the former, they’d make excellent interrogators and (ha-ha) private eyes.